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Isaiah 44:1-5 (NIV)
Israel the Chosen
44 “But now listen, Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. 2 This is what the Lord says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. 5 Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.
In this passage, God is referred to with female imagery. God is a mother who creates life in the womb and gives birth to the people of Israel. Specifically, this is talking about how God chose Abraham to be the father of a great nation (Gen. 12:1-3) and “gave birth” to the nation of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, by taking them out of slavery and through the Red Sea. This is also part of the Christian idea of baptism. In baptism, our old self, the person that is born naturally, is killed with Jesus on the cross and a new person is born and given a new life (Romans 6:1-4). This new life is something only God can give. Just like Abraham, we cannot earn new life or achieve new life. It is something that is given to us. We are made new by someone else. And because of Jesus all people, not just the biological descendants of Abraham, are given the invitation to be born again into the new life of faith (Galatians 3:1-6). Also, in Christian baptism, we believe that the Holy Spirit is given to us to help us live this new life (Eph 1:13-14). God’s Spirit is living in us and working through us to bring about God’s kingdom. It does not mean that we are perfect, but that through faith we allow God to make us into what he desires us to be. Do we trust Jesus with our lives enough to say, “I belong to the Lord”? Do we believe that God really does love us and want the best for us? Let us pray: Lord God, we give you praise for the great works you have done in creation. Give us faith that through Christ we are born again. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.